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R. Franklin Thompson

Professor of Classics at Willamette 1937-1942

Headshot of R. Franklin Thompson

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Robert Franklin Thompson was one of several instructors teaching Classics-related courses during the 1930s, but the only one who was actually hired as a Professor of Classics.

He received his A.B. from Nebraska Wesleyan University, his B.D. and M.A. from Drew University. His 1934 M.A. thesis was entitled, The Doctrine of the Incarnation. In 1940, he also completed his Ph.D., again at Drew University, this time with a 510-page volume on Peter Taylor Forsyth, a Pre-Barthian. In addition, he had studied abroad. He was a Delephlain-McDaniel Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford University, and a graduate student at the University of Zurich and the University of Basle in Switzerland.

Upon joining the Willamette faculty, he taught a series of courses in Classical Civilization and recruited a number of Classical Civilization majors.

Promoted to Associate Professor of the Classics in 1937, he served as Professor of Classics and Dean of Freshmen from 1939-1942. His residence in Salem was at 340 E. Lincoln St.

In 1942, Professor Thompson was invited to become the President of the College of Puget Sound, now the University of Puget Sound, where he enjoyed an exceptionally long and successful tenure, until his retirement in 1973.


  • A.B., Nebraska Wesleyan University
  • B.D., Drew University
  • A.M., Drew University
  • Ph.D., Drew University
Willamette University

Classical Studies

Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6077 voice
503-370-6944 fax